Nobody gives a shit about your bachelors (EU)

You might remember me from a post asking for advice about undergrad programs in the EU. Well, its been an amazing experience. I would have never thought that so many people would take the time out of their day to help a no-name like me. Thank you!

The more I dove into the topic however (mostly just by reading WSO and other forums), I couldn't help but notice a strong employment bias towards the Masters degree (for students with a 3 year bachelors!) in most areas of finance & consulting. Tbh, it makes me question the actual weight and overall importance of my first uni choice.

Do BBs / MBB / PE really not give a shit about what you did during your bachelors as long as you graduated from top grad program (look Said MFE, LSE MFin, HEC Mim etc...)?

Do students pursuing their bachelors in CS / Math / History and so on, have the same chances for a solid internship, top grad program and ultimately breaking into those industries as your usual B.A and Econ undergrads?

Is it any different in London, Frankfurt or Dubai?

If I sound silly or condescending towards other majors, that was not my intention, apologies in advance, I'm just a little surprised by this situation. 

Comments (15)

Net Worthlessness, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for your insight! In the case of UK, I know they usually apply with bachelors since they got a 4-year-program. For people coming to LDN from EU with a 3-year undergrad however, won't masters be of the same strength as it is in the EU? From what I've heard grad degree from schools like LSE basically opens up the whole London job market and with it on your CV, no one will ever look at your undergrad. Would you agree?

  • Works at Bain & Company

Here in London at least if you apply as an AC, I'd say the vast majority will have business-oriented bachelors degrees, but not all. There is a degree of agnosticism. Say, if you come from Oxbridge with a philosophy degree, that's fine. Same with work experiences, we have people joining us who were doctors, lawyers, etc.

For MBA hires, bachelors subject is irrelevant. You could have done internal relations for all we care. Does lead to some difficult adjustments in the first couple of months as they learn how to use excel, etc. But in time most people adjust just fine.

In France, I believe we require students to have an MSc even for the AC role (I admit I don't understand why). So, this also varies office to office.

As for "why", it is because (a) it shows initiative and proactiveness from a student to go from a bachelor in something like geography to an LSE MFin for example and (b) it demonstrates a strong capability to adapt to completely new challenges and environments.

Now for bachelors degrees without a postgrad degree, I don't think the subject matter is key, but in the interview we still expect them to be able to master financial accounting basics, and have some business sense (e.g., knowing a $5M market in the US is not worth it, or that an EBITDA margin of 95% probably makes no sense).

Net Worthlessness, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks a lot for your insight! It was really helpful.

Just wanna make sure we're on the same page...

Inferring from what you've written, landing the AC-summer-internship at Bain is as hard for a B.A. / Finance as it is for Math / CS / Philosophy etc right? Studying other majors (like STEM for example) doesnt put one in a disadvantage during the recruitment process. Then hopefully after the internship you get the return offer starting after Bsc graduation.

As for the Students with bachelors in different field but graduating from good masters programs, it really doesnt matter what they've studied before. Moreover it can even be an advantage showing students determination towards finance / mgmt. Have I understood that part correctly?

Also unfortunately, due to brexit I can't even dream of doing my bachelors in Oxbridge :(

Most Helpful
  • Works at Bain & Company

So, first we don't have AC interns in the London office (in case you were considering it). Our only interns are MBA summer associates. I've not seen one yet, but I know they are around as I get the emails about them. Therefore I cannot objectively comment on that first point. What I said would be based on experience with FT roles only.

For the second point, it does definitely show a determination that I think is valuable. Now, if you have a strong postgrad (FYI, most of our MBAs seem to be from LBS and INSEAD), your bachelor's subject will be irrelevant but not your performance of course. You should still be able to demonstrate that you were good at what you did before. I had a 2:1 from a very (very) low ranked uni, but I also have 2x MSc (one of them at a good uni but not Oxbridge nor London unis) and a PhD. And I worked at a very well-known financial service firm in their consulting team. So, you need to make up for it somewhere.

RE: Oxbridge bachelor, you can still do one, but it will be very expensive (which was always the case anyway). There are scholarships and student loans/financial aids available. You just need two things: student visa + offer from Oxbridge (which is hard to come by).

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen

Correct, the way it goes is:

- In the U.K., if you have a BSc from Oxbridge/LSE then you just have top jobs directly. If not, you can do a masters at Oxbridge/LSE/LBS and improve your prospects. 
- For London from an European background, MSc are preferred (in which case your BSc will be heavily discounted and your postgrad most important). 
- In France, you will barely get any internship if you're not enrolled in a top Masters programme (ie BSc are not taken very seriously for the most part, at best they allow you to pursue further education)

Net Worthlessness, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks a ton!

During those target masters programs like Said MFE or LSE MFin (after unrelated bachelor), how is the internship situation?

I'd assume that people coming from e.g engineering, won't have the same chances to land BB internships as Econ during their bachelors, so can they make up for it during masters? Unless of course the rep of those degrees is strong enough to get through the recruitment cycle, even if you have none.

Secondly, does your second point also apply to other financial centers like Dubai or Frankfurt? 

I've dug through a ton of LinkedIn profiles (especially DACH, since thats where I'm from) and the grand majority of the analysts at BBs had masters. That includes top unis like HSG, Mannheim and Bocconi. Recruitment straight after bachelor just seemed pretty rare in EU, especially compared to the UK where it's a standard when coming out of targets. Is that the case or was my research just plain wrong and for EU targets recruiting after bachelors is the norm? I don't have access to many profiles due to lack of connections so it just may be the case.

  • 1
  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen

In London, if you are in a good masters program, you will get internships independently of your BSc studies - especially if you apply for SAs (which you should do anyway because you can just ask for an earlier start once you get your full time offer, and it's much easier to get SAs)

- For Master's yeah they are also preferred in other EU countries like Spain, Italy, etc. it seems a bit less in Germany but I am not German. I would think in Dubai it's preferred too, but they are so aggressive in trying to get anyone to Dubai that tbh the standards are just lower there I would think 

Chucks Feed n Seed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Another minor thing to add, lots of UK students do a 4-year "integrated masters" directly (you get a B and M after 4 years). Very common with STEM degrees.

This sometimes creates a bit of prejudice against the imports from "lower tier" schools who come in at the 4th year.

  • Analyst 1 in PE - Other

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